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Health anxiety! Has anyone got any wise words?!

(25 Posts)
anaa1 Mon 13-Jun-16 22:38:33

I would say I'm fairly well into perimenopause....have been having probably a couple of years of v heavy, then light, and erratic periods - usually going three or four months between periods now. I've been ok, until the last 6 weeks or so. I've been experiencing the most awful health anxiety. It started suddenly, the day I went back to work after a week off to move house. I had a tiny zit come up near an existing mole....the existing mole hasn't changed, but I absolutely convinced myself it was skin cancer. I've basically had huge panic attacks, shaking, crying, you name it....it's like being insane, because the next day, with my sane head on, I can see it's absolutely fine and no actual problem. But when I'm in the panic, it's like actually experiencing having the health problem and I become convinced i'll die and leave my son motherless!! Drama queen - moi ;-)
I have a GP appointment on Wednesday but before I go I just wondered if any of you wise ladies have any experience of this and how you've managed it? Thanks so much.

anaa1 Mon 13-Jun-16 22:39:24

oh, and the reason I posted in here rather than simply mental health is because I do feel this may have a lot to do with menopause and hormones.

FrameyMcFrame Tue 14-Jun-16 15:25:35

Hi, yes me too. I basically go insane over health issues as you describe. I'm convinced I'm going to have a stroke. All my health anxiety gets worse cyclically at times when hormones are fluctuating such as before period is due and around the mid cycle point. I also get chronic insomnia at those points too.
Hang in there. Hope you feel ok soon!

anaa1 Tue 14-Jun-16 21:51:02

ah thanks Framey that's kind of you. It is good to hear other people do this too! It's like being in the grip of insanity :-/ And the insomnia sounds grim, poor you!
I'll see what the dr says tomorrow, really don't know what they can do to help :-/

lucy101101 Wed 15-Jun-16 21:38:46

This is happening to me too... I have always had HA but over the last year it is getting out of control. I think I am early perimenopause (45) but my periods have started to be erratic and I have had loads of other symptoms that I put down to peri like aching joints, breast pain etc. but all come and go and no cause can be found. I am taking Sertraline which is making me feel better but I might need to increase the dose. I am going to see my GP next week too....

FrameyMcFrame Fri 17-Jun-16 11:25:02

It's crap. I've been to lots of different GPs with not much luck. They all seem woefully ignorant of symptoms and treatments of perimenopause. I researched about specialist consultants in my area and have been referred to see Diana Mansour... (It was a fight to get the referral from GP but got there in the end) Been waiting for my appointment for ages as she's very busy but it's coming up soon. I'm really hopeful that I'll get some treatment, and that she'll at least understand what I'm going through rather than brush it off or try to say the symptoms are not connected with hormones as my GP has done.

orangina Fri 17-Jun-16 11:37:03

I haven't ever really had HA, but I found that perimenopause definitely increased any general anxiety symptoms, including really not wanting to answer the phone to engage with anyone beyond what was absolutely necessary. I found everything really overwhelming and just wanted to crawl into bed and stay under the duvet. HRT has been a MASSIVE help and when I feel as though any of those symptoms are coming back, I know I need to get my levels checked again and my HRT dosage tweaked. DO try to get yourself referred to the local Menopause Clinic (it is operated through our local hospital here), as in my experience, GPs really don't know what they're doing re: menopause and perimenopause. Good luck.

anaa1 Sat 18-Jun-16 16:30:51

Thankyou so much guys! It really does help to realise other people have the same struggles. I saw the GP last week, she wasnt dismissive and said I am clearly going through perimenopause, and we are starting with a thyroid test - I take thyroxine and if I am on too low a dose that can lead to anxiety. So I am back to see her in a couple of weeks and going from there....process of elimination, if thyroid is ok I will talk to her re HRT I think. Just the fact I was taking action and seeing the dr seemed to bring my anxiety down and I have been much calmer this week. Thanks again guys x

FrameyMcFrame Sat 18-Jun-16 22:15:45

It does help to get reassurance.

I found a really good questionnaire on health anxiety on the web, it just helped me to differentiate between what was real and what I was building up in my head. I'll try and find it and get the link.

For me I have to keep reminding myself that I can build up anxiety that is truly based on nothing... But when I'm up there i believe it's real. I have to keep bringing myself back to reality and talking sense to myself, if you know what I mean!

The perimenopause symptoms really don't help, when you're feeling like not yourself at all, missing sleep etc. It's really hard.

Luisa65 Sun 19-Jun-16 15:53:48

Hi everyone, first time poster here.. it's so reassuring to read all your comments, and realise I'm not going totally mad! I've had an horrendous 5 years of terrible anxiety which has left me virtually housebound, and unable to answer the phone, as well as losing most of my friends.
I've had thyroid cancer too, which resulted in my thyroid gland being removed...I'm now on daily thyroxine. I've always suffered from pretty bad PMT, and now I'm entering menopause the symptoms are utterly unbearable. My GP hasn't been particularly helpful, and I've recently made an appointment to see Dr Marion Gluck to see whether bio identical HRT may help me. I was 51 last week, and feel bloody 91!

PollyPerky Sun 19-Jun-16 16:06:11

Sorry you are feeling rough Luisa.

Please don't feel you have to see Gluck to get bio identical HRT.

Bio identical HRT is available readily on the NHS. But you may be calling 'compounded HRT' bioidentical and confusing things smile

Bio identical means the formula is the same as our own hormones. You can already get this in 'normal' HRT available on the NHS. Pills, patches and oestrogen gel are all bio identical . The only one which isn't is made from mares urine (Prempak etc) and some synthetic progestogens.

What Gluck does it take saliva samples to work out what your body might needs as a dose. This is not accurate and most eminent mainstream consultant gynaes say it doesn't work because your saliva tests or blood tests are inaccurate during peri- they only show the level at the time of the test.

You can find the right dose needed by starting 'normal' HRT with a low dose then working up if necessary.

I've had bio identical HRT for almost 8 years. I am able to alter the dose myself (using gel) to get the amount needed to control my symptoms.

It's your choice, but Gluck is very expensive, she's not necessarily any better than other consultants (she's a GP not a consultant by the way) and it is a bit of a con, to be honest.

Luisa65 Sun 19-Jun-16 16:15:26

Hi Polly, thanks so much for responding to me.

To be honest, I probably am confusing things, I seem unable to take in any information at the moment. I used to read voraciously, but now I struggle to extract information from even the briefest of paragraphs...it's terrible.

My GP isn't very helpful, and I've lost confidence in her, and the practice in general actually. Do you think it's a good idea for me to see someone privately initially?

PollyPerky Sun 19-Jun-16 16:21:14

What has your GP actually said? Are the unwilling to prescribe HRT or are they struggling with what sort to prescribe? It ought to be a fairly simple thing for them to deal with, especially if they have read the latest NICE menopause guidelines - Nov 15.

You could help them along by learning about different HRT and asking for what you want. The website Menopause Matters has a huge section on HRT as well as some new videos by Dr Currie who is chairman of the BMS.

All UK prescribed HRT is bioidentical if you want that- just avoid any starting with 'Pre.
Ask for micronised progesterone instead of synthetic progestogens.

I don't see why you need to pay £350+ for this when your GP could and should prescribe it.

I do see a private gynae in London but I saw him before I was peri meno about something else and carried on seeing him for meno treatment.

Luisa65 Sun 19-Jun-16 16:45:29

She doesn't really say an awful lot, she suggested waiting until i see the thyroid consultant, and seems a little out of her depth really. The practice took 3 years to diagnose my thyroid cancer, despite me constantly telling them I had a lump in my throat, couldn't swallow properly and had family history of thyroid problems. In desperation, I saw a consultant privately who rang my GP from his office and insisted I had a scan
the next day. I'd suppose I'd just feel more confident speaking to a menopause specialist and then my GP.
Who do you see in London, if you don't mind me asking? I've heard very good things about Nick Panay too...he does see NHS patients, I believe, but has a 3 months plus waiting list. Might it be better to see him instead?

PollyPerky Sun 19-Jun-16 16:59:41

I suppose it doesn't inspire much confidence if you've had those issues so far. I'll send you a PM.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 19-Jun-16 21:19:16

Hi Luisa, the anxiety is bloody horrible. I'm going through bad anxiety and insomnia at the moment.

I'm so thankful for forums such as this to be able to read that I'm not the only one and that what's happening to me isn't madness...

anaa1 Sun 19-Jun-16 22:19:37

Have a virtual hug, Framey. Anxiety is such a truly awful thing to have. One of the worst things I found recently is the not knowing when it's going to end, when that peak of anxiety is going to go past. And good luck to you Luisa, sounds like you have had to struggle to get help which is never a good thing, and specially not when you are ill anyway!!
I'm trying to be very positive at the mo - replacing negative thoughts with a positive one if I can because I'm sure negative thinking feeds into my anxiety.
Hope you get some sleep Framey. I take it you have things like camomile tea or valerian? Prob teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here!!

FrameyMcFrame Mon 20-Jun-16 22:59:08

Thank you Anna. It is horrible. I basically reach the end of my tether with no sleep.. Then things improve. I'm trying everything, supplements, diet , exercise, etc. I don't think it's going to resolve without hormones so just waiting for my consultant appointment now.
Thanks smile

minkmom Thu 23-Jun-16 19:50:41

Evening all, my first time posting here, my periods that has always been strictly on time and now moved to different dates is driving me in sane. Have been diagnosed with HA, bipolar and depression. Drinking epitec and zopivane to sleep, I do have type 2 diabete and high blood pressure. I get so anxious, I cry, am scared and my mood swings is not bad at all. Dr don't say its peri-menopause, had 24 heart monitor attached, blood tests, ekg done with all clear. I'm so lost and confused. Please advise or suggest. Sorry for the long message

anaa1 Fri 24-Jun-16 15:17:59

minkmom sounds like you are dealing with a huge amount of health challenges! It might be worth you asking your GP for a blood test to see where your hormones are - maybe HRT would be a possibility for you?

lovechocolate123 Sun 24-Jul-16 07:25:42

Hi this is the first posting. It's just so nice to see I am not the only one battling with anxiety. In my case health anxiety. I have always been an anxious person but this all started 10 months ago when I started having stomach / bowel problems and pains. The doctor did all the blood tests and all came normal and even went to A&E when the stomach pains and nausea got really bad they thought it was gallstones. I was all due to have the op to have gallbladder removed and then had another ultrasound where they couldn't find any gallstones. I kept going back to the doctor who kept saying it was all down to stress. She eventually referred me to a GI specialist who arranged for me to have a endoscopy and colonoscopy where they found I had gastritis and diverticululis. Since all of this I have become obsessed with my health. I keep checking symptoms on the Internet and imagining the worse. I am convinced I have cancer and have been misdiagnosed. I have had 10 weeks of CBT which has helped but I know it is still there and some days are worse than others. I feel like it is taking over my life and no one understands. So sorry for the long post but this is the first time doing this and it is good to see I am not alone. Sometimes all I want to do is cry because no one seems to understand and I have these awful images in my head of me being really sick and leaving my two littles ones. Thanks

mishmash1979 Mon 25-Jul-16 16:59:01

Lovechocolate; I too am suffering. Have been wondering g of my health anxiety could be made worse by peri menopause. I started suffering with breast pain a couple of years ago and since Xmas it has been horrific. I am convinced I have a very rare type of breast cancer that I know can be misdiagnosed. I actually have a few of the symptoms too but have been to the breast clinic and a biopsy done but it's been worse since then as they have acknowledged the breast there feels and looks different. I cry every night when I put my children to bed and every birthday or celebration; I worry it will be the last. I am hoping it's all hormonal and will eventually pass but at the moment I can't see through the fog of fear.

lovechocolate123 Mon 25-Jul-16 17:37:01

mishmash1979- i can relate to everything you have written in your post. I too have had thoughts that the anxiety could be link to perimenopause. I am 43 next month and wondering if that is too young? I too believe the doctors may have missed something too. Mine is all to do with my stomach and digestive system. I have had a course of CBT which I must admit did really help. One of the strategies that helped me was to 're-script' when all these awful images come to mind of for example 'my children growing up without their mother and my husband with someone else'. Are you on any medication? When I was really bad and couldn't sleep I went to the doctor but they refused to give me anything because she said it would interfere with the tests I was going to have. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I totally agree with the 'Fog' you describe it as. Do you notice it gets worse at different points during your cycle?

adventuremom Sat 30-Jul-16 18:37:17

I never had anxiety in my life then menapuse hit and I became health obsessed and high levels of anxiety that is really tough. We lost 2 granddads and a grandmum in 9 month period 6 years ago and since them, every bump, every headache every skin colour change or heart palpitation and I am off on an anxiety mess. I hate being this way and grit my way through it but god, will it every end.

lovechocolate123 Sat 30-Jul-16 22:45:36

That's how I feel. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on life because I am obsessing about my health and worrying about being ill. Thinking about hypnotherapy. Has anyone tried it?

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